WATCH: Yoel Romero Reacts to Michael Bisping’s Disrespect to Cuban Flag at UFC 213
Whenever there’s a fight between two top contenders, you’re likely to see their next opponent sitting cage side, watching for moments of weakness and analysing their prey’s fighting style. Jose Aldo sat by the Octagon when his rival Conor McGregor knocked out wrestler Chad Mendes to move forward for a shot at the championship strap, leading to one of the greatest confrontations the UFC has ever seen. True to form, current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping was in attendance at UFC 213 to see the showdown between middleweight contender Robert Whittaker and standout wrestler Yoel “The Soldier of God” Romero.
Whittaker managed to come back after dropping the opening two rounds to Romero, using crisp striking and incredible takedown defence to stop the Cuban Olympian from taking over control of the bout. The judges scored the bout for Whittaker, who had battled through a knee injury early on to snatch victory and a shot at the title from Romero.
— Mike Dyce (@mikedyce) July 9, 2017
Sitting by the cage, Bisping held up a small Cuban flag to Romero and then proceeded to rip the national symbol in front of him, scattering the pieces next to the blood-splattered canvas. The actions of “The Count” set a lot of fans off, but the English champion wasn’t done yet. He stormed the cage at the end of the bout, throwing his belt at the feet of the winner Whittaker who he perceived to be a poser.
— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) July 9, 2017
“I am the undisputed champion of the world,” Bisping explained after the fight. “This fake, this poser, is standing there with an interim belt, like he’s the champion. I’m the champion. Here, take it. We’re going to fight, so right now I’m still the champ. I’m not going to walk around with it on. You’ve got one, I’ve got one. Take it. May the best man win. Whoever wins the fight, you can have it, you’re the champ.”
The defeated wrestler was later asked at the post-fight press conference what he had thought of Bisping’s disrespect, and the response was terrifying.
“Do you have a flag? Do you love it? Would you give your life for your flag, your country? Same,” said Romero, eyes blazing at the idea someone would rip his national flag just metres from him. While Bisping’s actions may be defended by fans and analysts as serving to create hype for a fight between the Brit and Romero somewhere down the line, it cannot be overstated just how hurtful and disrespectful his actions were to the Cuban-born fighter.
Check out the video of Romero’s reaction below, and let us know what you think in the comments!
Watch this video of Romero talking about bisping ripping the Cuban flag. Literally gave me chills. pic.twitter.com/IAwascL9Yk
— Devon (@devon32fight) July 9, 2017